December 13, 2004

GM and DaimlerChrysler join forces to develop new hybrid system

Detroit/Stuttgart – General Motors and DaimlerChrysler announced a plan to work together to develop a new two-mode full hybrid propulsion architecture for applications in GM, Chrysler Group and Mercedes Car Group vehicles. Variants planned include rear- and front-wheel-drive versions for cars, trucks and other vehicles. This technology is expected to improve acceleration performance while also improving vehicle fuel economy and range significantly.

GM-DCX announcement
Rick Wagoner, left, Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation, and
Dieter Zetsche, President and CEO of the Chrysler Group, shake hands at GM’s Powertrain Headquarters in Pontiac, MI. Click image to enlarge

Until now, both companies have been working independently on their own hybrid propulsion systems for their range of passenger vehicles.

The two-mode system provides performance and fuel economy improvements at highway speeds and better trailer towing ability. Packaging is more efficient than today’s single mode designs as the system’s compact and powerful electric motors are designed to fit within the approximate space of a conventional automatic transmission.

“The two-mode design is the optimal merging of full hybrid and state-of-the-art automatic transmission technologies,” said Tom Stephens, group vice president of GM Powertrain. “Together we will jointly develop what is essentially an electrically variable transmission with two hybrid drive modes. This system will reduce fuel consumption at highway speeds much more effectively than available single mode systems and achieve at least a 25 percent improvement in composite fuel economy in full-size truck applications.

GM previously announced its first application of a full hybrid would be launched in late 2007 in two of GM’s most popular full-size SUVs, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. Combining the hybrid development efforts of DaimlerChrysler and GM will position both companies for leadership in this technology. The wide-ranging program will allow opportunities for additional partners, and could become a hybrid source for other auto manufacturers.

“Our planned cooperation will draw on the technical expertise of two of the largest auto companies in the world,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member with responsibility for Research and Technology and Development Mercedes Car Group. “The result is expected to be a series of strong hybrid propulsion systems that will serve as a solution for our alternative powertrain needs.”

Mercedes-Benz will focus on high-tech hybrid propulsion systems in rear-wheel drive passenger cars in the luxury segment. Hybrid technology will be an integral part of its advanced powertrain strategy within the next several years, Dr. Weber added.

“The team members that will develop the hybrid system will be located in Michigan, but will come from all over the world,” said Eric Ridenour, executive vice president of Product Development – Chrysler Group. “A world-class hybrid system will complement the global fuel economy benefits that DaimlerChrysler offers customers through technologies such as cylinder deactivation – Chrysler Group’s Multi-Displacement System – and modern diesel engines.” Chrysler Group will offer a range of hybrids, but its first application of this system will be in the Dodge Durango shortly following the GM SUVs, added Ridenour.

The two-mode full hybrid drive system will be mated to different engines and the respective vehicle programs will have unique performance dynamics and calibration. Each company will integrate the two-mode full hybrid into its own vehicles.

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